Lime scam sends babus scurrying

Fearing arrest, as many as 343 Class-I gazetted officers secure anticipatory interim bail

During investigation it is found that the registration numbers of some of the vehicles were fake Vehicles shown as trucks in the voucher/bills were actually scooter, motorcycle, auto rickshaw, diesel tanker, bus and other different types of vehicle which cannot be used for carrying lime materials.

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, August 28: Astounding as it may sound, at least 343 Class-I gazetted officers, including District Agricultural Officers, Senior Additiol District Officers and ADOs, have secured anticipatory bail, apprehending arrest in the multi-crore lime scam. 

The Crimil Investigation Department of Assam Police is investigation the scam has after registering a case against unknown persons under IPC sections 120(B) (crimil conspiracy), 420 (punishment for cheating), 406 (crimil breach of trust) and 409 (crimil breach of trust by public servant which is punishable with imprisonment for life, etc).

The 343 officers have been granted interim anticipatory bail till September 21, the day on which the case diary would be considered by the Gauhati High Court for fil orders on the applications.

The Krishak Shramik Unyan Parishad, Assam had filed a complaint before the ADGP, CID last September against the officers of the Agricultural department, alleging that the Central government had sanctioned funds for supply of lime for the year 2012, 2013 and 2014 --- but upon field enquiry by them it was found that cultivators did not receive any lime. 

Upon receipt of the FIR, the CID launched an investigation covering as many as 27 districts, except Dima Hasao. During the course of the hearing of the bail petitions, it was submitted by Additiol Public Prosecutor B Gogoi that investigation is complete - except in two districts - and there are materials "to implicate majority of the officers."

The CID is concentrating at the district level officers only while the superior officers, including the minister concerned, are yet to be interrogated, sources said.

In July last, five agricultural officers of Goalpara district were arrested by the CID, and later on, two officers of Jorhat district were also taken into custody. All these officers were granted regular bail, considering their period of detention in custody.

The arrests have created a panic in the Agricultural department, bringing it virtually to a standstill, as most of the officers rushed to the High Court seeking anticipatory bail. This is because if they are arrested and detained in custody for more than 48 hours, they would be deemed to be placed under suspension. It is such damage these officials are desperately seeking to protect their reputations from.

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